First of all guys, we have some really exciting news… We are on TrailPorn. Yes. We are on TrailPorn, as of today. If you read our blog last week you will remember our Project TrailPorn project. And we are thrilled to say it was a success. They got in touch today to tell us our photo is heading the site. Now people from all over the world can share the beauty of a North Wales slate mine! See us up there in lights by clicking here (have to tell them to attribute the photograph to Tony Othen, not Nina Othen – will definitely do that dad, real soon).
Next on the list is our About Us Page. You may have realised already, but we’ve updated the text on that page with Russell’s submission for the Welsh Fell Running Association Newsletter. It sums up what we’re doing and why we’re out here much better than before. I must add though, that lots has changed since those winter trials and tribulations. The weather has got markedly better, the days are longer, there have been a couple of occasions we’ve been in t-shirts (there have been countless occasions where Russell has been entirely bare-chested because he will do so at any given opportunity). The milk doesn’t keep for as long on the window-sill, we use less candles. We only have a fire on special occasions, we don’t jump around as if on pogo-sticks just to get changed in the mornings. Everywhere is greener and there are lots and lots of lambs. Speaking of which, here is a picture of me reuniting a lost lamb with its mother, no jokes, I’m a real Mother Terasa of sheep out here (actually I hope I didn’t wreak havoc on this little fella’s life by giving it my own smell and causing his mother to reject him. I’m still just a stupid townie at heart).
Travelling to Derby last weekend for a 10km race, I was having to use lots of positive mental rewiring techniques! Last year I ran my PB there (30.14) winning by a big margin and setting the course record. It was one of those days when running just felt easy. I had been training great, and as I lined up to start I already knew I had the race in the bag. While clipping along far infront of the field, I felt so smooth that my mind kept wandering, inane things like ‘ahh look, isn’t that a pretty canal, I didn’t know Derby had pretty canals’ were drifting around in my mind as I strolled in to the finish line.
This year could not have been more different! Preparation for the race had been awful! I had outlined a month of solid training where I would tailor my sessions for the purpose of breaking 30minutes at Derby. That is only an improvement of 15 seconds from last year, and I felt in much better shape, so I believed it to be very doable. The first two weeks training went great. Well the sessions went great, some of my best ever, but the inbetween bits were getting harder and harder. I was not factoring in all the other stuff that goes on here. And it was those things which prevented me from getting the recovery I needed between sessions. I refused to listen to the signs, until I got so tired that by the start of the third week I could hardly walk up the hill to Gelli. I even went to the Doctor for blood tests.
When the race kicked off it was quite funny to see how everyone was waiting for me to make a move. They were all checking me out, and when I took a shorter line around the bend in a road, they all fell in behind me as if I was about to take off, they needn’t have worried! I was just holding onto the leading pack, but had no speed in my locker to dictate the pace. At 6km a big guy broke free from the group, everyone strung out to chase him, I was toiling at the back trying to stay in contact. I finished in 6th place, 30 seconds behind the winner, but a minute infront of the guy behind me. On the face of it this is a disaster. After 12 months of hard training, I am a minute slower! But I had already decided that if I could just try my best and finish this race, then that would be an outstanding success considering the way I had been feeling a few weeks ago. So 31.11 is just fine for now. Also, at the finish all the elite athletes were complaining about the winding roads and blustery winds, I honestly hadn’t noticed at all, those guys should try abit of fell running!
I went to the Doctor on Monday to get test results. The doctor was a runner so was very helpful and understanding. He said I had come down with a viral infection which had significantly reduced my white blood cell count. He also said I had very low iron levels. I argued that I eat raw spinach every day. He insisted that with the amount of training I am doing, a handful of spinach would not cut it. He prescribed iron supplements and lots of red meat. I am feeling much better already.